Posts Tagged ‘Bret Hart’

Seth Rollins recently spoke to GiveMeSport where he discussed what it was like to have a close working relationship with Vince McMahon. He praised McMahon for maintaining his passion for the business after all these years as he continues to work hard into his seventies.

“Vince is great. He’s fantastic first off. My relationship with him is very, very good. He’s just such an eccentric dude. He’s always got something for ya. He’s 71-years-old now and he’s sharp as a knife so he’s a lot of fun to be around. He’s always got good feedback. Still watches it, still loves it. That’s the crazy thing.

“He still comes to work every single week and he still loves it. He still loves what he does. He loves being around it, he loves watching it, analyzing it, thinking about it. So it’s just cool to be around a guy like that.”

Rollins addressed the backstage reaction to comments Bret Hart made in 2016 when he said The Architect is unsafe in the ring. This came after Finn Balorsuffered a shoulder injury following a bucklebomb to the barricade from Rollins at SummerSlam 2016. He said people backstage didn’t take the comments too seriously and were also supportive.

“I have no idea if [McMahon] even knew what Bret was saying about me as far as that’s concerned,” Rollins continued. But yeah, I got support from guys in the locker room who were like, ‘what is this guy even talking about? Why is he saying this stuff? It’s just ridiculous.’

“So yeah, it was here and there but most people really didn’t take it too seriously because it was so off the wall. So yeah people just make jokes about it for the most part.”

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Bret Hart’s exit from the WWF after the 1997 Survivor Series is a legendary story. After the Montreal Screwjob cost Hart his WWF World Heavyweight Championship, he had a conversation with Vince McMahon backstage in a closed office. This meeting resulted in Hart punching McMahon in the face on his last night with the company. Hart recently spoke to the In This Corner podcast about that fateful night in Montreal where Hart said he considers it a defining moment in his career.

“In some ways, I’m not so proud of that moment but in a lot of ways, I think it was the single defining moment of my lifetime,” Hart said. “You know I often second guess a lot of what I did that day punching Vince and you know I think it made me feel good a few months ago when Chris Jericho was on a podcast and he was talking about Bret Hart should have done this or Bret Hart should have done that, but all these people who are talking about me they don’t know my circumstance. They don’t know what rights I had in my contract that gave me legal precedent. I had creative control for my last sixty days right there I was legally in the right to do the things I stood up for.”

Hart said what it came down to was Shawn Michaels telling him that he wasn’t going to put The Hitman over. He said it was a professional discourtesy and many other people would have taken the same tact as he did. Hart also said it was a “bunch of bad guys that were up to no good” before continuing to explain the situation he was in.

“It kinda stings when I think of how much I gave to WWF and how they just wanted to stab me in the back that day and sweep me out the back door and have nobody ever hear from me again. All that I did meant nothing, all those years taping up injuries and working sick and I’d worked for WWF for at least three hundred days a year for at least sixteen years and it meant nothing to them in the end.”

A lot has happened in WWE and Hart’s life since he punched McMahon. He continued to open up about the situation where he said he has gotten over the Montreal Screwjob because all the other struggles that have happened along the way took precedent.

“You get past it when you go through other struggles in your life. When I deal with my brother Owen getting killed, and Bulldog, so many other wrestling friends of mine that have passed away. You know to having a stroke and almost dying from a stroke years ago and having my brush with prostate cancer two years ago. It’s like I don’t have time to worry about what happened with Shawn Michaels or Vince McMahon almost thirty years ago.

“If I had to do it again I would have probably done the exact same thing again. I have no regrets on my behavior. I look at it myself in some ways as my crowning moment. My moment to stand up and say I’m a businessman and I’m gonna protect myself and you don’t have the right to destroy me. You might have a contract that employes me as a wrestler but you don’t have the right to destroy me, rape me. When I look at what I did, what I stood up for I believe I stood up for all the boys in wrestling.”

Hart said he sees a little bit of himself in CM Punk. After Survivor Series ’97, there was talk that McMahon might press charges against The Hitman for punching him. Hart continued to comment on how he feels Punk stood up for not only himself, but the rest of the locker room when he walked out of WWE after the 2014 Royal Rumble.

“I think the same could have been said about CM Punk as an example. You know his standing up and saying, ‘hey I’m doing all the work around here, you’re gonna give Batista and Brock Lesnar and Triple H all these guys who are part-timers who are home every day, they’re getting all the main event matches at WrestleMania and I’m the one pulling the wagon around here and I wanna be in the main event.’ They tried to smooth it over and sugarcoat it and offer him everything but a main event spot so he quit like he held them up on that.

“I heard some guys talking bad about CM Punk in the car about he wasn’t one of the boys or something like that. I’m thinking, ‘he gave up so much to prove a point for the wrestlers.’ You know that the wrestlers are doing the work, put the wrestlers in the main event spot. He stood on those principals and he lost his job, gave up a lot to make that point but he was right and he took a bullet for the industry. I’m glad he won that case a few weeks ago because I’m sure that there was a lot of pressure on him to wear him down and break him in that case.”

Former WWE Tag Team Champion Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart passed away this morning. He was 63-year old.

Cauliflower Alley Club president Brain Blair broke the news earlier:

“It is with a sad heart that I share with you the passing of a long time friend and colleague, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart. Your thoughts and prayers for the family are appreciated.

Neidhart, born James Henry Neidhart on 8 February 1955 in Tampa, FL, was a natural athlete, excelling at track and field before moving on to pro football. He made the books of the Oakland Raisers and Dallas Cowboys, but never made an appearance for either team.

Instead, he turned his head to wrestling, heading to Canada to learn under the tutelage of the great Stu Hart. It was whilst training in The Dungeon that he met his first wife, Stu’s daughter Elizabeth, and long-term tag team partner Bret Hart.

As part of the Hart Foundation, Neidhart twice claimed tag gold in the WWF during a seven year spell of duos’ dominance. Bret’s emergence as a singles star left his former partner somewhat rudderless, and after a failed attempt to revive the tandem alongside brother-in-law Owen, Neidhart drifted between Japan, WCW, and ECW, before eventually returning to Stamford in 1994. After a forgettable stint as the one-note Who, a more substantial Hart Foundation was formed, propping up many of the company’s best angles before Bret Hart’s acrimonious departure following Survivor Series ’97.

After retiring, Neidhart had the pleasure of seeing his daughter Natalya promote women’s wrestling to its greatest height in WWE.

WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart spoke with Sky Sports on the different reactions he’d receive from fans, not wanting to turn heel, and his enjoyment of being a hero to fans. Here are some of the highlights:

Getting bigger responses in Europe and Canada, compared to the US:

“I’m not saying it is, but it might also be that sometimes Americans can come off as so much better than everyone else. Being a Canadian may have set me apart from some of the American heroes that were coming through at the time, like Macho Man or Ultimate Warrior. I always had a much softer approach to my interviews and promos. I was not so much that wrestler that was yelling at the screen, I was always the one that was talking to my fans.

“I think I was different and maybe the first wrestler to come along in a long time that it wasn’t about how big I was or how big my arms were. I didn’t have 24-inch pythons or face paint and things like that. I just had my wrestling skills, and it was just about my wrestling skills and the stories I could tell in my matches.”

Vince McMahon talking him into being a heel:

“I very much worried about losing my fan base when they wanted to turn me heel. I remember that Vince McMahon laughed and joked on the phone when he called me to tell me, and I said ‘I don’t want to turn heel, I don’t want to be a bad guy.’ I really took pride in being a worldwide hero, much the same as John Cena today. But much the same as John Cena today, the wrestling audience was wanting something different. They wanted somebody new. So it was like, ‘Do I change styles to stay alive?’

“Vince said ‘Give me five minutes and I’ll talk you into it’, and I said ‘No, thank you, I’m not interested,’ but he talked me into it pretty fast because my option as a good guy was that I was going to wrestle Vader for the next year. That was going to be brutal, and I was thinking ‘anything but Vader.’ So the heel turn was a difficult choice to make, and I remember Vince stressed to me – and I wonder whether that was the beginning of them trying to tear me down – that ‘You are going to be a hero everywhere else except the United States.’

“I don’t know if they were totally honest. I remember when we wrestled that pay-per-view in ’97 in Birmingham that they were clearly trying to turn me heel or trying to turn the audience against me on the mic and commentary, and that was Vince and Jim Ross and guys like that.”

Appreciating every fan and being a hero to them:

“I take being a hero really seriously. I know there are a lot of kids that watched me that are all grown up now, and they’ve watched me evolve in my life, from fighting cancer to fighting a stroke, even the screw job and my brother Owen passing. There are all these things I’ve had to go through in the public eye, and I think people respect me for how I carried myself.

“Growing up in wrestling – and I have been involved in wrestling really my entire life – I learned right from the get-go that you never forget your fans. They are the ones that put your food on the table and pay your bills. My dad was always genuine with the fans and said, ‘You must appreciate every single one of them,’ and I always did. I always tried to make time for every autograph or every picture. What’s an autograph? It’s the simplest thing in the world.”

Hart also discussed living in the public eye. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

Natalya spoke with The Sun about her Father (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) not wanting her in wrestling, training at the Hart Dungeon, and how he family has influenced her wrestling career. Here are some of the highlights:

Training in the Hart Dungeon:

“There was only one other girl in there with me and about 25 different guys coming in and out over the years. So for the most part there were only men to train with. We got treated all the same. I’m grateful for those days because nothing was handed to me – it made me stronger. Training with men made me tougher. I had to learn to stand on my own two feet. When I look back, it’s helped me so much. There’s nothing I can’t get through in WWE.”

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart not initially being thrilled with her getting into wrestling:

“He was very protective. I have two sisters and he didn’t want us in the ring. When he was competing, there wasn’t a prominent women’s division. He came from a different era and he didn’t want us to get hurt. Females become more dominant in WWE with Trish Stratus and Lita, but it wasn’t until he saw me have my first match … he’s been my biggest fan ever since.”

How family has influenced her wrestling career:

“My family have influenced me heavily. I loved Owen’s style – I’m not a high flyer but I love looking back at his matches for his personality.Bret was always great at selling and he’d always make you believe. Bret was also compatible with everyone he worked with. Whoever it was, they’d always say Bret was their favorite match – from Roddy Piper to Steve Austin. And British Bulldog was so agile for a guy his size. He could do just about anything. I’m a bigger girl – sturdy and I can do a lot of power moves, but I’m also agile on my feet.

“Every time I do the surfboard submission hold I think of British Bulldog – I pay homage to him. And the Sharpshooter is me paying homage to Bret and our family’s legacy. And my father was about power. Just the way he moved around in the ring… we have a lot of the same mannerisms. I look back at old matches and think we’re so much alike. When I first started I didn’t want to do the things they did or wear the same colors because I didn’t want people to think I was riding off my family’s coattails. Now I see it differently – I’m proud of them.”

Natalya also discussed more about her family. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

Bret Hart worked for Vince McMahon and Company for thirteen years before leaving after the Montreal Screwjob in 1997. He comes from a famous pro wrestling family, so Hart knows how pro wrestlers are treated when compared to other athletes and employees in the office. Hart recently spoke to CBS’ In This Corner podcast about how he believes WWE should treat their Superstars.

“Employees who work for WWF they have better benefits than the wrestlers do. The ones they should take care of is the wrestlers. They still don’t take care of the wrestlers the way they should. I think that’s a real shame.”

Hart then compared another business Vince McMahon has a hand in with how WWE treats their Superstars. While comparing them to cattle, The Hitman said the XFL is being paid for by the pro wrestling industry before saying XFL players are likely to get taken care of much better than WWE Superstars.

“They’re gonna put millions of dollars into the XFL, another one,” Hart continued. “We all know that’s being paid for by the wrestlers, by the wrestling industry. But none of that is gonna filter down to any of the wrestlers. That’s gonna filter down to a bunch of football players being padded with football contracts and they’re gonna have special doctors and they’ll get all the things the wrestlers never got.

“They will be treated like the finest cattle you know animals, you know the treatment they will get is heads and tails above what the wrestlers will get. The wrestlers will get chicken feed at the bottom. If they get injured, they get sent off. It’s a very cut and dry world in pro wrestling.”

Influences on the nWo style and catch phrases:

“When I met Scott, he was more of a country-western guy and I was born and raised in Detroit so I was always kind of a Motown guy and once West Coast rap got really hot and especially Death Row it was we began listening to Death Row a lot in the car and there was this old Mack 10 song and in this Mack 10 song they rob a McDonald’s and one dude says to the other dude in the car that he’d been wanting to do that for two years and the other guys says that he’d been wanting to do that FOR LIFE, so that is where we got that. Most of our catch phrases and those things we did we got from West Coast rap. Immediately, I remember I put my headband on backwards like 2 Pac. Here is a thirty five year old white guy with his headband on backwards but it worked.”

Great American Bash 96 and power bombing Eric Bischoff on Pay Per View:

“That is the first night that we became aggressive. Shortly after that I think we were in Charlotte (maybe the next Monday) where we brought out the aluminium baseball bats. That was (Kevin) Sullivan. Sullivan knew that two things sell in wrestling and that is sex and violence.

“The three of us (Hall, Bischoff, Nash) were all there at the beginning. He was WCW and we were the invaders and this was before the third man was unveiled so basically he was the foil and we were the invaders and he was representing WCW. He did such a good job and it was his idea and along the way it was tweaked here and there but conceptually he laid it out to me even before I decided to come on over.”

How the nWo changed the perception of wrestling in the 90s:

“I always say that we showed Vince how to build the Saturn V and once we built it he kicked our astronauts out of the castle and said I’ve got it from here, pal.”

Being the WWE’s first anti-hero:

“I was trying to do it forever. If you look at when I lost to Bret, I made sure that when I said ‘m’fer’ that they got that and at Royal Rumble when I went down and interfered with Taker and Bret I flipped Undertaker off and I know for a fact that I am the first person to flip somebody off like that on TV. They were both pay per views but it was something that was one of those things like how I always dragged the belt.

“At that time the movie Heat was popular and at the end I was talking to Vince and we had just had a conversation like a year earlier and we were all in a room with The Kliq guys and we said wouldn’t you rather have 15,000 people and have 7,500 for the baby-face and 7,500 for the heel? The anti-hero is the way to go.”

Lasting impact of The Kliq on wrestling:

“It’s one of those things where you get that status of at the beginning of The Kliq DVD and they talk to Shawn and Shawn says that a lot of people disliked us and a lot of people did this and that but after all these years they are still talking about us and still talking about what we did so obviously a lot of the things we did were spot on.”